The written history of Nepal, as is the case in other countries of the world also, is fundamentally a history of class struggle. In the development of human society, the struggle for ownership over the means and process of socio-economic production has given rise to various classes – masters and slaves, feudal lords and serfs, landlords and peasants, bourgeoisie and workers, and many other classes in between. These classes also became ruling and the ruled, oppressive and the oppressed.
From the nomadic pastoralists of ancient Nepal to the tribal-feudal civilizations, the medieval kingdoms and feudatories, Shah dynasty and Rana rule leading to Panchayat system and then struggle for republican system, all are manifestation of class struggle. However, serious studies and discussion on this subject are just beginning in Nepal. The history of Nepal, in general, is written by the ruling class historians, it is yet to be written from the perspective of the Nepali people. The need for a historical materialist analysis of the socio-cultural-psychological structure, and the Hindu caste-based patriarchal Nepali society has become even more urgent.
As class struggle will continue to operate so long as the classes continue to exist, it is the responsibility of the progressive forces of Nepal to move towards making of classless society by ensuring structural changes necessary for the cessation of their existence. Changing the character of the oppressive state and making it more and more accountable to the people, it calls for completing a transition period where State will start to wither away transforming itself into something like a ‘non-State’. We concur with the analysis and projections that even in such an advanced society there will be various contradictions, but in the absence of the basis for exploitation and oppression such contradictions are expected to be friendly and not hostile.
Such a transition is driven primarily through the combination of the agency of a socialist oriented welfare state run by cooperative and council democracy, and of social ownership of the means of production. Collective and individual participation in the process of economic production and in the creative works are its foundational principles.
In the process of such participation, the process of molding into a new human being is hoped to begin with the full expression of their potential and personal freedom. Such a transitional period is a socialist period leading to the social environment of classless communism. No matter how difficult or distorted the reality of building socialism may have been in the past, the power of such thought has not faded away. At present, the crisis of the neoliberal capitalism has re-ignited a serious global debate on it.
The establishment of the Communist Party of Nepal in 1950 AD marked the beginning of application of Marxism in Nepali reality. Leftist literature made a headway in an organized manner after the establishment of the Progressive Writers Association (PWA) 1953. However, one can see the origins of such literary-ideological reflections in the works of “Makai Ko Kheti” (1977), “Ama Ko Sapana” (2003), “Yugwani” newspaper (2004).
Even though literary and cultural magazines “Vedana”, “Sakalpa”, “Janmat, Utsah” and various party publications played the role of opinion makers in subsequent period, Mulyankan, Jhilko and Bampanth, in particular, seem to have contributed to the ideological consciousness in the aftermath of historical movement of 1990. However, these three magazines are not functional for the last 10 years for various reasons. It is ironic that in Nepal, while leftist forces won almost two third votes in general elections, not a single academic magazine has seen the light of the day.
At present, there are huge challenges in the leftist movement. Absurdities and degenerations are visible everywhere in its rank. And it is urgently necessary to find out the determinants and solutions of such sorry state of affairs within the communist movement of Nepal.
The question of peace, stability, and survival of Nepal has become equally pressing amidst daunting international relations and a complex geopolitical environment. Failure of ‘neoliberal’ model of capitalist world has the potential to deepen the political and climate crisis by encouraging fascistic tendencies on one hand and extreme exploitation of natural resources of the earth on the other. Only the conscious intervention of mankind can prevent such catastrophic possibility.
Part of the reason behind the capitalism’s spread under the guise of development, democracy, and civil liberties is the one-sided interpretation of the knowledge-generating resource centers. Presenting as evidence such interpretations, the predominance of ‘development’ framework policies and programs in the operation of the state mechanism is increasing. The caste and class elites have major say in Nepal’s policy-making. This has led to the development of a situation where the problem is institutionalized, but hardly any effort is made for concrete solutions. We believe it is time we challenge such unilateral interpretation and practice.
In a country as naturally and culturally diverse as ours in terms of population and geography, where it should not be so difficult to manage a livelihood, Nepali people have go to the Gulf countries to sell cheap labor at the expense of one’s life. Laws of international standards have been drafted for the rights of women and the Dalit community in the country, but the stark discrimination persist against them. These and similar intolerable situation demand that a dialogue be initiated on different perspectives on debates centered on issues such as political determinants, increasing urbanization increasing cultural identities and environmental exploitation for precipitating radicle change. We believe, this is possible through collaboration with resource centers of knowledge production such as universities and think tanks.
At this crucial juncture the collective wisdom and efforts of the leftist intellectuals inspired by the values of socialism can contribute to the aspirations of the Nepalese people to build a prosperous, egalitarian society, while facilitating interaction and dialogue among the parties in this complex current situation in Nepal. Therefore, we call for intervention of the thought and conscience both of such individuals.
Our aim is to make “Bampantha_The Left” a medium for such ideological intervention and a platform for dialogue and cooperation. The authors published here are solely responsible for the content of their articles. The official opinion of the magazine will be communicated through the editorial. Its first issue is a special issue on “Marxism and Communist Movement of Nepal”. It will be a bilingual magazine, articles in both Nepali and English will be published. We do believe that we will have warm support from both the readers and the writers for helping this magazine achieve its objectives.